What about the Queen?

Monarchy is a crucial part of our history. However, the monarch’s role in ruling the country has changed significantly over time.

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The first kings of England came to the throne over a thousand years ago and their powers have been reduced (this came when Charles I was executed following the Civil War). However, the monarchy isn’t just a way of increasing tourism and Elizabeth II still has a role to play in British life and politics.

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In the United Kingdom’s unwritten constitution (the set of laws and principles under which our country is governed) the monarch’s powers include the following:

  • Opening and dissolving parliament
  • Appointing the prime minister
  • Giving consent to bills passed by parliament (without this consent a bill can’t become law)
  • Appointing bishops and members of the House of Lords

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This might seem like a lot of power, but these roles are largely ceremonial. For example, her power to appoint the prime minister sounds mighty, but in fact it is simply a convention that the monarch must appoint the leader of the biggest party in the House of Commons.

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Under a convention of the UK’s unwritten constitution, the monarch must always take advice from their ministers — i.e. the elected government.

What do you think? Is it important to maintain our historical identity or is it now an empty ceremony? 

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Either way, the UK does not look like it will become a republic anytime soon! (a state that doesn’t have a monarch). All the main political parties support the idea of a monarchy. 

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